Connect with us

Bad Credit

Choosing Between a Secured and Unsecured Credit Card

Published

on

Credit cards can be found in nearly every wallet and purse in America, so most small business owners with good credit already have access to that type of financing. But what can you do as an entrepreneur if your credit score isn’t the greatest? Should you get a secured credit card? Read on to learn the difference between unsecured and secured credit cards and which one is right for your business’s situation.

What is a secured credit card versus an unsecured credit card?

Since their inception in the 1950s, credit cards have been a common payment method for most Americans. In fact, a report by WalletHub using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Nilson Report found that there were approximately 1.12 billion credit cards in the U.S. as of 2018. By 2023, that number is expected to go up to nearly 1.3 billion.

The report also estimated that the average number of credit cards per U.S. adult was just over three in 2019, with an average total balance of $6,629. And while Experian estimates that the country had approximately $830 billion in credit card debt in 2019, most of that is held through unsecured credit cards. [Read related article: Do You Need a Small Business Credit Card?]

The difference between a secured and unsecured credit card

On a very basic level, the major difference between these types of cards is that a secured credit card requires some sort of monetary deposit to act as collateral, while an unsecured credit card doesn’t. An unsecured card generally has lower interest rates and higher credit limits, while a secured card can serve as a way for people with bad credit to boost their credit scores.

Unsecured credit cards: The common option

If you have a credit card right now, the odds are extremely high that it’s unsecured. While the term “unsecured” may sound risky for you as a consumer, it more accurately describes the risk that the card’s issuer has taken on, since it acts similarly to an unsecured bank loan and does not require a deposit or other form of collateral.

Without the additional assurance of collateral from you, the terms of an unsecured credit card depend largely on your credit history. If you apply with a good credit score, you’ll be more likely to get a higher credit limit, more favorable interest rates and additional perks, like travel miles and cash back. However, if you have a lower credit score and you try to get a credit card, the opposite will be true: You’ll receive a smaller credit limit, higher interest rates and little or no additional perks – if you get approved at all. What determines a “good” score and what constitutes a “bad” score vary among the three credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, though a score in the 700 range is typically considered a good place to start.

Rather than receive collateral to protect their investment, banks and credit card issuers reduce their risk by leveraging their ability to punitively affect your credit file if you regularly miss payments or overcharge your account.

In most instances, delinquent accounts are reported to the credit bureaus, resulting in a decrease in your overall credit score. Such an infraction on your record is considered a major issue to other creditors and remains on your file for years as a red mark for why you should be denied additional credit or loans.

Other courses of action for credit card issuers and delinquent accounts include taking your account to collections, seeking wage garnishments to offset their losses or filing a lawsuit against you. [Read related article: The Pros and Cons of Financing a Startup with Credit Cards]

Secured credit cards: The safe option for creditors

While unsecured credit cards pose a potential risk for card issuers, secured credit cards come with some assurances baked in at the expense of the borrower. Unlike an unsecured credit card, a secured credit card requires the cardholder to make a cash deposit that the credit card company holds as collateral.

That deposit usually sits in the $200 to $300 range and will act as the card’s available credit limit. Naturally, a higher deposit will yield a larger credit limit. This deposit is a one-time cost to the borrower that can be refunded once they’ve either proved their ability to maintain the account in good standing or the account is closed.

Because these cards are backed by collateral, banks and credit card issuers are more likely to approve applications for all kinds of users, including people with no credit or low credit scores. As a result, these cards are generally seen as a safe, yet slow way to build a credit score. [Read related article: Opening a Business Account When You Have Bad Credit]

“If you miss a payment on a secured credit card, the money is simply taken out of your security deposit, and the missed payment is not reflected on your credit report,” said Michael Broughton, co-founder and CEO of Perch. “If you do carry a balance, interest will be incurred, and the balance will be reported to the bureaus just as it would with an unsecured card. Using a secured credit card can help some build their credit in as little as six months.”

Like unsecured credit cards, unpaid bills result in punitive actions that could lower your credit score. A late payment usually comes with an additional fee before getting a higher interest rate tacked on. The longer your payment is past due, the higher your rate will go, until the card is closed and you lose your deposit. Eventually, the account will be sent to collections, at which point your assets could be in jeopardy.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of secured and unsecured credit cards?

Aside from their collateral requirements, unsecured and secured credit cards come with their own inherent benefits and drawbacks. In the case of both cards, you can potentially raise your credit score by diligently making your payments on time, though the other side of that statement is also true. Both cards also give you access to capital that you didn’t already have on hand, and both prove your creditworthiness in some way.

And while the two credit card types share some benefits, they also share downsides. For instance, both card types can lead to collections agencies getting involved if your account is unpaid by 120 days, though if that happens, both card types will have negatively impacted your credit score well before then. Additionally, both unsecured and secured credit cards can require a “hard pull” on your credit file when you apply for a card, resulting in a potential hit to your score. This issue is somewhat less likely to happen with secured cards, since they require collateral.

Though unsecured cards generally have lower interest rates, they can still be quite high. As previously mentioned, average rates can be upward of 20%. If you’re making just the minimum monthly payment with a high APR, you’re likely not making much of a dent in your principal. Likewise, if you’re not paying off your card in full each month, a high APR means you’ll pay more than the initial cost of whatever you purchased with the card.

Benefits of an unsecured card

As unsecured cards are the most common type of credit card, you’re likely already familiar with many of their advantages. Here are some of the pluses of using an unsecured credit card responsibly:

Lower APR. If you have an unsecured credit card, it’s likely that you have a decent credit score. As a result, a bank or credit card issuer will feel more comfortable offering you a lower interest rate. Because a lower interest rate means your monthly payments will be smaller, it serves as an incentive to continue using the card. With a lower rate, you can continue to build credit by stretching your limit a little further.

Though unsecured cards’ interest rates are generally lower if you have a good credit score, the rates are still often higher than those for most small business or personal bank loans, averaging between 15.53% and 22.76%, U.S. News reported.

Higher credit limits. Again, because you likely have a reasonable credit score, you will likely be trusted with a higher borrowing amount. With an increased credit limit, you instantly gain access to bigger-ticket purchases without fear of getting too close to that limit.

A larger credit limit also affects your overall credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit available to the user versus the amount of debt they’ve incurred. Credit bureaus use your utilization ratio as a metric to see how responsible you are with your credit. A higher percentage of credit used may indicate to lenders that you’re a costly and potentially risky borrower.

More card options. As this is the most common type of credit card, your options vary wildly. Credit cards are issued by so many entities, from national and local banks to individual retailers, that it’s very likely that you can find an unsecured card that fits your needs.

Rewards for using credit cards. Credit card issuers want borrowers to use their cards, since they make money on the interest and any additional credit card fees. One way they often do that is by offering special rewards to their users. If this is a major selling point for you, then be on the lookout for cards that offer cash back, discounts at certain businesses when using the card or travel mileage that can be redeemed for airfare, among other perks.

More frequent reports to credit bureaus. Credit card usage is just one part of your overall credit score, but it’s among the most heavily weighted items. Because your unsecured credit cards represent risk to card issuers, they often report the health of your credit card usage to credit bureaus on a monthly basis. This kind of granular influx of data can help you understand how you’re doing and provide you with ways to improve your score. This can often become a double-edged sword, however, since late and missed payments are also reported frequently.

Drawbacks of an unsecured card

Though an unsecured card has many benefits, there are also some negatives to having or trying to obtain one. Here are some of the drawbacks:

Different requirements for each card. Because unsecured cards are ubiquitous, it’s increasingly rare to find two credit cards that have the same requirements for approval. Credit score requirements vary from issuer to issuer, so whereas one card may require a 580 credit score for consideration, another may demand a score of 700. This kind of variance means you’ll have to do your research about not just your credit score but also what that score needs to be to obtain the card you want.

Added fees. Depending on the type of credit card you use, there may be additional fees baked into your agreement. The most common fee added to an unsecured credit card is an annual “convenience” fee, which can range from $20 to $200. There are enough cards on the market that don’t charge an annual fee, so you can avoid this drawback simply by choosing a card without one. Other fees – like late payment fees, balance transfer fees and cash advance fees – should be expected if you meet the requirements for those fees.

Benefits of a secured card

Though a secured card requires you to deposit money as collateral, this type of card has some unique benefits. Here are some of the advantages:

Refundable deposit. As long as you consistently make payments on your account and eventually pay off the balance in full, your deposit is refunded to you. This can help serve as a goal to keep in mind as you’re using and paying back the card over time.

Credit building. If you have a bad credit score, it will be nearly impossible to get a decent unsecured credit card without exorbitant interest rates and minuscule credit limits. By requiring collateral of some kind, credit card issuers are more likely to approve individuals with bad credit as a way to help them get out of the hole they’ve dug themselves into. In some cases, the secured card can eventually get upgraded to an unsecured card. Keep in mind that a secured card only reports payment history, resulting in a slower climb.

Drawbacks of a secured card

Here are some of the downsides to be aware of before getting a secured credit card:

Required deposit. As previously mentioned, to get a secured credit card, you must make a cash deposit of up to $300. If you need a higher credit limit, you may have to add more money to your deposit.

Smaller credit limits. Credit limits for secured cards are usually just the security deposit you put down. As such, your credit utilization ratio will be much tighter than with an unsecured card.

Additional fees. Like unsecured credit cards, secured cards often have a range of additional fees tacked on, such as monthly maintenance fees, annual upkeep fees or incidentals. These are nonrefundable and can add to the overall cost of the card.

Lack of reporting to credit bureaus. Not all secured credit card issuers report these cards to the three bureaus. If you’re relying on such a card to help build your credit, it’s imperative that you make sure the card issuer reports the account’s activity, since not doing so will make your efforts entirely moot.

Which type should you choose?

When deciding which card you should get, consider where you are in your credit score journey. While an unsecured card may be great if you’re just looking to maintain or increase your already decent credit score, a secured card could help you get out from under a bad or nonexistent score.

“Both secured and unsecured credit cards have their advantages, but the need for each depends mostly on your credit score and your financial goals,” Broughton said. “If you have trouble with qualifying for an unsecured card, a secured card is your best option for credit building through a card.”

While most people will want to obtain an unsecured card, a secured card should most often be considered only if you have zero credit history or your credit score is too low for an unsecured card.

When choosing between the two types of cards, the business owner should consider the current marketplace and potential issues they could face, said Matthew Dailly, managing director of Tiger Financial. “Having a secured credit card could really help to protect them if something comes along which stops their income – COVID-19 being the perfect example.”

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bad Credit

Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders

Published

on

Illustration by Sarah Maxwell, Folio Art

When Bridget Davis got started in the family’s payday lending business in 1996, there was just one Check ’n Go store in Cincinnati. She says she did it all: customer service, banking duties, even painting walls.

The company had been established two years earlier by her husband, Jared Davis, and was growing rapidly. There were 100 Check ’n Go locations by 1997, when Jared and Bridget (née Byrne) married and traveled the country together looking for more locations to open storefront outlets. They launched another 400 stores in 1998, mostly in strip malls and abandoned gas stations in low-income minority neighborhoods where the payday lending target market abounds. Bridget drove the supply truck and helped select locations and design the store layouts.

But Jared soon fired his wife for committing what may be the ultimate sin in the payday lending business: She forgave a customer’s debt. “A young woman came to pay her $20 interest payment,” Bridget wrote in court documents last year during divorce proceedings from Jared. “I pulled her file, calculated that she had already paid $320 to date on a principle [sic] loan of $100. I told her she was paid in full. [Jared] fired me, stating, ‘We are here to make money, not help customers manage theirs. If you can’t do that, you can’t work here.’ ”

Photograph by Brittany Dexter

It’s a business philosophy that pays well, especially if you’re charging fees and interest rates of 400 percent that can more than triple the amount of the loan in just five months—the typical time most payday borrowers need to repay their debt, says the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit organization focused on public policy. Cincinnati-based Check ’n Go now operates more than 1,100 locations in 25 states as well as an internet lending service with 24/7 access from the comfort of your own home, according to its website. Since its founding, the company has conducted more than 50 million transactions.

What the website doesn’t say is that many, if not most, of those transactions were for small loans of $50 to $500 to working people trying to scrape by and pay their bills. In most states—including Ohio, until it reformed its payday lending laws in 2019—borrowers typically fork over more than one-third of their paycheck to meet the deadline for repayment, usually in two weeks. To help guarantee repayment, borrowers turn over access to their checking account or deposit a check with the lender. In states that don’t offer protection, customers go back again and again to borrow more money from the same payday lender, typically up to 10 times, driving themselves into a debt trap that can lead to bankruptcy.

Jared and Bridget Davis are embroiled in a nasty court battle related to his 2019 divorce filing in Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court. Thousands of pages of filings and 433 docket entries by April 26 offer the public a rare glimpse into the business operations of Check ’n Go, one of Cincinnati’s largest privately-owned companies, as well as personal lifestyles funded by payday lending.

The company cleared $77 million in profit in 2018, a figure that dipped the following year to $55 million, according to an audit by Deloitte. That drop in revenue may have something to do with the payday lending reform laws and interest rate caps passed recently in Ohio as well as a growing number of other states.


The day-to-day business transactions that provide such profit are a depressing window into how those who live on the edge of financial security are often stuck with few options for improving their situations. If a borrower doesn’t repay or refinance his or her original loan, a lender like Check ’n Go deposits the guarantee check and lets it bounce, causing the borrower to incur charges for the bounced check and eventually lose his or her checking account, says Nick DiNardo, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. After two missed payments, payday lenders usually turn over the debt to a collection agency. If the collection agency fails to collect the full amount of the original loan as well as all fees and interest, it goes to court to garnish the borrower’s wages.

That devastating experience is all too familiar to Anthony Smith, a 60-year-old Wyoming resident who says he was laid off from several management positions over a 20-year period. He turned to payday lenders as his credit rating dropped and soon found himself caught in a debt trap that took him years to escape.

Two things happened in 2019, Smith says, that turned around his financial fortunes. First, he found a stable manufacturing job with the Formica Company locally, and then he took his mother’s advice and opened a credit union account. GE Credit Union not only gave him a reasonable loan to pay off his $2,500 debt but also issued him his first credit card in a decade. “I had been a member [of the credit union] for just two months, and I had a credit rating of 520. Can you imagine?” he says. Smith says he is now debt-free for the first time in 10 years.

Consumer advocates say Check ’n Go is one of the biggest payday lending operations in the nation. But knowing its exact ranking is difficult because most payday lending companies, including Check ’n Go and its parent company CNG Holdings, are privately held and reluctant to disclose their finances.

Brothers Jared and David Davis own the majority of the company’s privately held stock. David bought into the company in 1995, but CNG got its game-changing infusion of capital from the brothers’ father, Allen Davis, who retired as CEO of then-Provident Bank in 1998. Allen sold off $37 million in stock options and essentially became CNG’s bank and consultant.

By 2005, however, the sons were part of a public court battle against their father. Allen accused Jared and David of treating his millions in CNG stock as compensation instead of a transfer from his ex-wife (and the brothers’ mother), sticking him with a $13 million tax bill. In turn, the brothers accused Allen of putting his mistress and his yacht captain on the company payroll, taking $1.2 million in fees without board approval, and leading the company into ventures that lost Check ’n Go a lot of money. Several years of legal fighting later, the IRS was still demanding its $13 million. CNG officials did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Jared and David split $22 million in profit from CNG in 2018 and, according to the Deloitte audit, CNG’s balance sheet showed another $42 million that could be split between the two brothers in 2019. Jared, however, elected not to receive his $21 million distribution “in order to create this artificial financial crisis and shelter millions of dollars from an equitable split between us,” according to Bridget’s divorce filing.

Worse, she claims, Jared said they would be responsible for paying taxes out of their personal accounts rather than from CNG’s company earnings, making her personally responsible for half of the $5.5 million in taxes for 2019. She believes it wasn’t happenstance that $5.5 million was wired to Jared’s private bank account in December of that same year. Bridget has refused to sign the joint tax return, and Jared filed a complaint with the court saying a late tax filing would cost them $1 million in penalties and missed tax opportunities.

“For the duration of our marriage and to the present, Jared has full and complete control of all money paid to us from various investments we have made in addition to our main source of income, CNG,” Bridget wrote in her motion. She suspects that Jared, without her knowledge or consent, plowed the money for their taxes and from other sources of income into Black Diamond Group, the fund that invests in the Agave & Rye restaurant chain. Beyond the original restaurant opened in Covington in 2018, “they have opened four other locations in one year,” she wrote, including Louisville and Lexington. (The ninth location opened in Hamilton this spring.) Agave & Rye’s website touts its Mexican fare as “a chef-inspired take on the standard taco, elevating this simple food into something epic!”

In his response, Jared wrote, “We have very limited regular sources of income.” He says he isn’t receiving any additional distributions from CNG, the couple’s primary source of income, “and this is not within my control. The company has declared that we would not make any further distributions in 2020 given economic circumstances. This decision is based on a formula and is not discretionary.” Agave & Rye helped produce $645,000 in income for Black Diamond in 2020 but has paid out $890,000 in loans, he says. Through August 31, 2020, he wrote, the couple’s “expenses have exceeded income from all sources.”


The divorce case filings start slinging mud when the couple accuses each other of breaking up their 22-year marriage and finding new partners. Jared claims Bridget began an affair during their marriage with Brian Duncan, a contractor she employed through her house flipping business. Bridget, he says, paid Duncan’s company $75,000 in 2018 as well as giving him a personal gift of $70,000 that same year. Jared says she also bought Duncan at least one car and purchased a house for him near hers on Shawnee Run Road for $289,000, then loaned money to Duncan. Jared says Duncan has been late in repaying the note.

While Bridget says Duncan has been drug-free for several years, he has a rap sheet with Hamilton County courts from 2000 to 2017 that runs five pages long. It lists a half-dozen counts of drug abuse and drug possession, including heroin and possession of illegal drug paraphernalia; assaulting a police officer; stealing a Taser from a police officer; criminal damaging while being treated at UC Health; more than a dozen speeding and traffic violations; a half-dozen counts of driving with a suspended license; receiving stolen property; twice fleeing and resisting arrest; three counts of theft; two counts of forgery; and one count for passing bad checks.

Bridget has fired back that Jared not only is hiding his money from her but spending it lavishly on vacations, resorts, and high-end restaurants with his new girlfriend, Susanne Warner. Bridget says Jared gifted Warner with $40,000 without Bridget’s knowledge, then declared it on their joint tax return as a “contribution.” Bridget’s court filings include photocopies of social media posts of Jared and Warner globetrotting from summer 2019 to summer 2020: vacation at Beaver Creek Village in Avon, Colorado; cocktails at High Cotton in Charleston, South Carolina, and dinner at Melvyn’s Restaurant and Lounge in Palm Springs, California; getaways at resorts in Nashville and at a lakefront rental on Norris Lake ($600 per night); in the Bahamas at a Musha Cay private residence ($57,000 per night), at South Beach in Miami, and at a private beach at Fisher Island; in Mexico at Cabo San Lucas; in the U.S. Virgin Islands at Magen’s Bay and on a private yacht ($4,500 per night); in California at Desert Hot Springs, the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, and Montage at Laguna Beach; and in the Bahamas at South Cottage ($2,175 per night).

For her part, Bridget has gone through some of the top lawyers in town faster than President Trump during an impeachment—six in all, two of whom she’s sued for malpractice. She sent four binders of evidence to the Ohio Supreme Court, asking for the recusal of Hamilton County Judge Amy Searcy and claiming Searcy was biased because of campaign donations from Jared and his companies. Rather than deal with the list of questions sent to her by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Searcy stepped down. Two other judges have since stepped into the fray, and in March Bridget filed for a change of venue outside of Hamilton County, arguing she can’t get a fair trial in her hometown. At press time, a trial date had been set for June 28 in Hamilton County.

The poor-mouthing in the divorce case has reached heights of comic absurdity. Jared claims he’s “illiquid” because he didn’t get his distribution from CNG in 2019. Bridget has received debt collection notices for the nearly $21,000 owed on her American Express card and a $735 bill from Jewish Hospital. There’s no sign yet that anyone is coming to repossess her Porsche, which according to her filings has a $5,000 monthly payment. Each party has received $25,000 a month in living expenses, an amount later reduced to $15,000 under a temporary legal agreement while the divorce case is being sorted out. Court filings show that Jared’s net worth is almost $206 million and Bridget’s is $22.5 million.


In the early 1990s, Allen Davis was raising eyebrows at Provident Bank (later bought by National City), and not only because of his very unbanker-like look of beard, ponytail, and casual golf wear. He was leading the company into questionable subprime home loans for people with bad credit and a frequent-shopper program for merchants, though the bank’s charter barred him from getting involved in full-blown predatory lending practices. With guidance and funding from his father, Jared, at age 26, launched Check ’n Go in 1994 and became a pioneer in the payday lending industry. Jared and his family saw there were millions of Americans who didn’t have checking or savings accounts (“unbanked”) or an adequate credit rating (“underbanked”) but still needed loans to meet their everyday expenses. What those potential customers did have was a steady paycheck.

Conventional banks share a big part of the blame for the nation’s army of unbanked borrowers by imposing checking account fees and onerous penalties for bounced checks. In 2019, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimated there were 7.1 million U.S. households without a checking or savings account.

The Davises launched Check ’n Go on the pretext that it would “fill the gap” for people who occasionally needed to borrow money in a hurry—a service for those who couldn’t get a loan any other way. But consumer advocates say the real business model for payday lending isn’t a service at all. The majority of the industry’s revenue comes from repeat business by customers trapped in debt, not from borrowers looking for a quick, one-time fix for their financial troubles.

Ohio’s payday lending lobbyists got a strong hold on the state legislature in the late 1990s, and by 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray could rightfully claim in a campaign ad that “Ohio’s [payday lending] laws are now the worst in the nation. Things have gotten so bad that it is legal to charge 594 percent interest on loans.” His statement was based on a 2014 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The frustration for consumer advocates was that Ohioans had been trying to reform those laws since 2008, when voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative placing a 28 percent cap on the interest of payday loans. But—surprise!—lenders simply registered as mortgage brokers, which enabled them to charge unlimited fees.

The Davis family and five other payday lending companies controlled 90 percent of the market back then, an express gravy train ripping through the poorest communities in Ohio. The predatory feeding frenzy, especially in Ohio’s hard-hit Rust Belt communities, prompted a 2017 column at The Daily Beast titled, “America’s Worst Subprime Lender: Jared Davis vs. Allan Jones?” (Jones is founder and CEO of Tennessee-based Check Into Cash.) In 2016 and 2017, consumer advocates mustered their forces again, and this time they weren’t allowing for loopholes. The Pew Charitable Trusts joined efforts with bipartisan lawmakers and Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform, a statewide coalition of faith, business, local government, and nonprofit organizations. Consumer advocates found a legislative champion in State Rep. Kyle Koehler, a Republican from Springfield.

It no doubt helped reform efforts that former Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger resigned in spring 2018 amid an FBI investigation into his cozy relationship with payday lenders. Rosenberger had taken frequent overseas trips—to destinations including France, Italy, Israel, and China—in the company of payday lending lobbyists. In April 2019, Ohio’s new lending law took effect and, since then, has been called a national model for payday lending reform that balances protections for borrowers, profits for lenders, and access to credit for the poor, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. New prices in Ohio are three to four times lower for payday loans than before the law. Borrowers now have up to three months to repay their loans with no more than 6 percent of their paycheck. Pew estimates that the cost of borrowing $400 for three months dropped from $450 to $109, saving Ohioans at least $75 million a year. And despite claims that the reforms would eliminate access to credit, lenders currently operate in communities across the state and online. “The bipartisan success shows that if you set fair rules and enforce them, lenders play by them and there’s widespread access to credit,” says Gabe Kravitz, a consumer finance officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Other states like Virginia, Kansas, and Michigan are following Ohio’s lead, Kravitz says. Some states, such as Nebraska, have even capped annual interest on payday loans. As a result, Pew researchers have seen a reduction in the number of storefront lending op­erations across the country. Even better, Kravitz says, there’s no evidence that borrowers are turning instead to online payday lending operations.

Cincinnati is one of five cities chosen for a grant to replicate the success of Boston Builds Credit, an ambitious effort that city launched in 2017 to provide credit counseling in poor and minority communities by training specialists at existing social service agencies. The program also encourages consumer partnerships with credit unions, banks, and insurance companies to offer small, manageable loans that can help the unbanked and underbanked improve their credit ratings. “Right now, local organizations are all kind of working in silos on the problem in Cincinnati,” says Todd Moore of the nonprofit credit counseling agency Trinity Debt Relief. Moore, who applied for the Boston grant, says he’s looking for an agency like United Way or Strive Cincinnati to lead the effort here.

Anthony Smith is thankful that he’s escaped the downward spiral of his payday loans, especially during the pandemic’s economic turmoil. “I’m blessed for every day I can get paid and have a job during these difficult times, just to be able to pay my bills and meet my responsibilities,” he says. “I’ve always kept a job, but until now I’ve had crappy credit. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad guy.”

Can others worth millions of dollars say the same?

Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders Source link Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders



Source link

Continue Reading

Bad Credit

What’s Questionable Credit and Can I Get a Car Loan With It?

Published

on

Questionable’s definition means that something’s quality is up for debate. If a lender says that your credit score is questionable, it’s likely that they mean it’s poor, or at the very least, they’re hesitant to approve you for vehicle financing. Here’s what most lenders consider questionable credit, and what auto loan options you may have.

Questionable Credit and Auto Lenders

Many auto lenders may consider questionable credit as a borrower with a credit score below 660. The credit score tiers as sorted by Experian the national credit bureau, are:

  • Super prime: 850 to 781
  • Prime: 780 to 661
  • Nonprime: 660 to 601
  • Subprime: 600 to 501
  • Deep subprime: 500 to 300

The nonprime credit tiers and below is when you start to get into bad credit territory and may struggle to meet the credit score requirements of traditional auto lenders.

This is because lenders are looking at your creditworthiness – your perceived ability to repay loans based on the information in your credit reports. Besides your actual credit score, there may be situations where the items in your credit reports are what’s making a lender question whether you’re a good candidate for an auto loan. These can include:

  • A past or active bankruptcy
  • A past or recent vehicle repossession
  • Recent missed/late payments
  • High credit card balances
  • No credit history

There are ways to get into an auto loan with questionable credit. Your options can change depending on what’s making your credit history questionable, though.

Questionable Credit Auto Loans

If your credit score is less than stellar, it may be time to look at these two lending options:

  • What Is Questionable Credit and Can I Get a Car Loan With It?Subprime financing – Done through special finance dealerships by third-party subprime lenders. These lenders can often assist with many unique credit situations, provided you can meet their requirements. A great option for new borrowers with thin files, situational bad credit, or consumers with older negative marks.
  • In-house financing – May not require a credit check, and is done through buy here pay here (BHPH) dealers. Typically, your income and down payment amount are the most important parts of eligibility. Auto loans without a credit check may not allow for credit repair and may come with a higher-than-average interest rate.

Both of these car loan options are typically available to borrowers with credit challenges. However, if you have more recent, serious delinquencies on your credit reports, a BHPH dealer may be for you. Most traditional and subprime lenders typically don’t approve financing for borrowers with a dismissed bankruptcy, a repossession less than a year old, or borrowers with multiple, recent missed/late payments.

Requirements of Bad Credit Car Loans

In many cases, your income and down payment size are the biggest factors in your overall eligibility for bad credit auto loans. Expect to need:

  • 30 days of recent computer-generated check stubs to prove you have around $1,500 to $2,500 of monthly gross income. Borrowers without W-2 income may need two to three years of professionally prepared tax returns.
  • A down payment of at least $1,000 or 10% of the vehicle’s selling price. BHPH dealers may require up to 20% of the car’s selling price.
  • Proof of residency in the form of a recent utility bill in your name.
  • Proof of a working phone (no prepaid phones), proven with a recent phone bill in your name.
  • A list of five to eight personal references with name, phone number, and address.
  • Valid driver’s license with the correct address, can’t be revoked, expired, or suspended.

Depending on your individual situation, you may need fewer or more items to apply for a bad credit auto loan. However, preparing these documents before you head to a dealership can speed up the process!

Ready to Get on the Road?

With questionable credit, finding a dealership that’s able to assist you with an auto loan is easier said than done. Here at Auto Credit Express, we want to get that done for you with our coast-to-coast network of special finance dealerships.

Complete our free auto loan request form and we’ll get right to work looking for a dealer in your local area that can assist with many tough credit situations.

(function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk/debug.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

Source link

Continue Reading

Bad Credit

Entrepreneur Tae Lee Finds Her Fortune

Published

on

By Jasmine Shaw
For The Birmingham Times

Birmingham native Tae Lee had plans last year to visit the continent of Africa, the South American country of Columbia, and the U.S. state of Texas.

“I was going to stay in each place for like four to six weeks, and then COVID-19 happened,” she said. “So, I just was like, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna go to Mexico and stay for six months.’”

Once home from Playa Del Carmen, located on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, the 33-year-old entrepreneur put the final touches on “Game of Fortune: Win in Wealth or Lose in Debt,” a financial literacy card game for ages 10 and up.

“We created ‘Game of Fortune’ because we realized there was a gap in learning the fundamentals of money,” said Lee. “We go through life not knowing anything about money and then—‘Bam!’—real life hits. Credit, debt, and bills come at us quick!”

Lee believes the game “gives players a glimpse of real life” by using everyday scenarios to teach them how to make wiser financial decisions without having to waste their own money.

“I feel like [financial literacy] can be learned in ways other than somebody standing up and preaching it to you over and over again,” she said. “You can learn it in ways that are considered fun, as well.”

Which is why “we want the schools to buy it, so we can give students a fun way to learn about financial literacy,” she added.

Lee, also called the “Money Maximizer,” is an international best-selling financial author, speaker, coach, and trainer who is known for her financial literacy books, including “Never Go Broke (NGB): An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Money and Freedom” and the “NGB Money Success Planner High School Edition.” The Birmingham-based financial guru focuses on creating diverse streams of income in the tax, real estate, insurance, and finance industries.

For Lee, it’s about building generational wealth, not debt.

Indispensable Lessons

Lee got her first glance at entrepreneurial life as a child watching her mother, Valeria Robinson, run her commercial cleaning company, V’s Cleaning. Robinson retired in 2019.

“My grandmother had a cleaning service, too,” said Lee. “So, even though I didn’t start out as an entrepreneur, watching my mom and grandma do it taught me a lot.”

Lee grew up in Birmingham and attended Riley Elementary School, Midfield Middle School, and Huffman High School. She then went on to Jacksonville State University, in Jacksonville, Alabama, where she earned bachelor’s degree in physical education. She struggled to find a career in her field and became overwhelmed by student loans.

“My credit and stuff didn’t get bad until after college,” she said. “I was going through school and taking money, but nobody told me, ‘Oh, you’re gonna have to pay all of this back.’”

Before embarking on her extensive career in money management, Lee had not learned the indispensable lessons that she now shares with clients.

“‘Don’t have bad credit.’ That’s all I learned,” she remembers. “Financial literacy just wasn’t taught much. I learned the majority of my lessons as I aged.”

In an effort to ward off collection calls and raise her credit score, Lee researched tactics to strategically eliminate her debt.

“I knew I had to pay bills on time, and I couldn’t be late with payments,” she said.

Lee eventually began helping friends revamp their finances and opened NGB Inc. in 2017 to share fun, educational methods to help her clients build solid financial foundations.

“People were always coming to me like, ‘How do I invest in this?’ and ‘How do I do that?’ So, I said to myself, ‘You know what, people should be paying to pick your brain.’”

Legacy Building

While Lee enjoyed watching her clients reach milestones, like buying a new car with cash or making their first stock market investment, she was also designing “Game of Fortune” to teach the value of legacy building.

“The game gives players the knowledge to build generational wealth, not generational debt,” she said. “It gives you a glimpse of life, money, and what can truly happen if you mismanage your coins.”

Using index cards to create her first “Game of Fortune” sample deck, Lee filled each card with pertinent terms related to debt elimination and credit and wealth building. She then called on a few friends to help her work through the kinks.

Three of her good friends—Barbara Bratton, Daña Brown, and Sha Cannon—were just a few of the people that gave feedback on the sample deck.

“From there I met with Brandon Brooks, [owner of the Birmingham-based Brooks Realty Investments LLC], and four other financial advisors to fine-tune the definitions and game logistics,” Lee said.

Though Lee was unable to land a job in physical education after graduating from college, she now sees her career with NGB Inc. as life’s unexpected opportunity to teach on her own terms.

“Bartending and waitressing taught me that working for someone else was not for me,” she replied. “In order to get the life I always wanted, I had to create my own business.”

In her entrepreneurial pursuits, Lee strives to be an open-minded leader who embraces the need for flexibility.

“COVID-19 has shown me that in entrepreneurship you have to maneuver,” she said. “When life changes, sometimes your business will, too. You may have to change the path, but your ending goal can be the same.”

“Game of Fortune: Win in Wealth or Lose in Debt” is available and sold only on the “Game of Fortune” website: gameoffortune.money. To learn more about Tae Lee and Never Go Broke Inc., visit taelee.money and nevergobroke.money or email [email protected]; you also can follow her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nevergobrokeinc) and Instagram (@nevergobrokeinc).

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending